July 2021 is a month to remember for me. Why? I made my second solo trip even though it seemed my first because I travelled without thoughts and I was not afraid (as if it were the first time).
I went to Sofia for a few days. Sofia was unexpected, it was not planned and also I had never thought to visit Sofia. It all happened two weeks before departure. I was looking at IG’s stories and I came across a story about a girl who was telling everyone about a big sale on Ryanair’s website. I went on the site and was right, a great sale with tickets to 5 euros for a lot of destinations. I immediately called my Irish friend to go somewhere together, but unfortunately, we did not find a common destination because of the dates and also the different destinations. Since this opportunity was really beautiful and I could not miss it I decided to go alone.
Among all the available destinations Sofia was one of the few where I had never been and with 10 euro round trip I booked my flight; two weeks later I was in the Bulgarian capital.
Four days before the flight, as every time I travel, I started checking out other travel bloggers and websites to make a list of things I wanted to see and do. In all honesty, reading other bloggers I got a little scared, why?
Well, the first blog I read said that apparently travelling alone to Sofia was bad, according to this blog people are not used to seeing travellers alone and stare at you all the time. Guess what? That’s not true. People don’t care if you’re in company or alone. Second, I read that Sofia doesn’t have a lot of tourist attractions and in one day you can see the whole city. Guess what? Also, this time it’s not true at all. I spent 4 days in Sofia and only visited the city centre calmly and without struggling to do things, although there are many places to see even outside the city.
Honestly, I had some problems with the hotel because it was really ugly and dirty, but despite this everything went great, I spent some amazing days and discovered a city full of recent and old history.
What is there to do in Sofia in 4 days?
I took the flight from Treviso at 11.30 and at 13.30 I was in Sofia. From Sofia airport to the city centre is very easy; you have three options: bus, taxi or metro. I took the subway because it was easier and brought directly near my hotel. The subway is just outside the terminal, there’s only one direction it’s hard to go wrong. In addition, there are vending machines outside and take coins or even credit cards. After the disastrous check-in and the realization that I would sleep in a horrible room, I decided to familiarize myself with the city and have a traditional dinner. I tried a typical Bulgarian restaurant about a 10-minute walk from the main street of Sofia. The restaurant was not only typical for the menu, but also for the restaurant itself and the waiters who wore traditional Bulgarian clothes.
After a nice breakfast (not at the hotel), I decided to do a free walking tour. The tour started from the Palace of Justice and in about 2 hours we visited the main attractions of Sofia. I loved the tour because the tour guide was amazing, fun, helpful in answering our questions and told us some unusual things that only the locals can know. The tours are in English or Spanish and since there were a lot of people the English tour was double; no need to book anything just meet the tour guide in front of the Palace of Justice. (link to the company here 360) After lunch, I decided to retrace the morning route. Since the tour did not take us inside the churches, cathedrals and other attractions I decided to do it in the afternoon. For dinner of course a typical Bulgarian dinner.
After the same nice breakfast of the previous day, I booked another tour; with the same company of the day before and I chose the Communist Tour. The 3-hour tour started from the Palace of Justice and took us around the city especially through the signs of communism. I really enjoyed this tour; the guide was fantastic, very prepared and happy to share the history of his country. Also, the tour was very well organized, They showed us pictures of things that were there with communism but now they are no longer taking us right where they were once and the guide explained how life was during the communist giving us a complete idea of the era that is not so far if you think about it. The cost of the tour is 15 euros and is worth every single penny. The tour is only in English, we were about ten people and you do not need to book in advance just meet the tour guide in front of the same Palace of Justice and at the end of the tour, you will pay the cost. Well, after this fantastic tour I was really tired, three hours all standing, and so I decided to take the quiet day, which means a nice cold Bulgarian beer in the main street waiting for dinner. Dinner of course in a typical restaurant, surprising and delicious.
Last day in Sofia. My flight was at 16.00 so day 4 is shopping day! Shopping yes, but not in the usual shops. In Sofia, you can find some beautiful markets, one is outdoors and the other is inside. The first is the most typical and is called the women’s market. In this market you can see life every day, in fact, this is a fruit and vegetable market with some nice souvenir shops and places for a quick meal. The second market is called Sofia Central Market. Inside you can find many shops and places to have a typical snack. Unfortunately when I went not all shops were open, but it was nice to see it anyway. After a quick lunch inside the market, it was time to go to the airport and return home.
I don’t know if it was the fact that was my second trip by myself or the fact that Sofia is amazing but I really highly recommend visiting the capital. You will flight in a city with an incredible history that starts before the Roman Empire and arrive until the communism that was just around 30 years ago and the entrance to the European Union more recently.
Have you ever travelled by yourself?